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Matrix Biol. 2007 May;26(4):247-58. Epub 2007 Jan 19.

Chondrocyte hypertrophy can be induced by a cryptic sequence of type II collagen and is accompanied by the induction of MMP-13 and collagenase activity: implications for development and arthritis.

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  • 1Joint Diseases Laboratory, Shriners Hospitals for Children and Department of Surgery, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine whether a peptide of type II collagen which can induce collagenase activity can also induce chondrocyte terminal differentiation (hypertrophy) in articulate cartilage. Full depth explants of normal adult bovine articular cartilage were cultured with or without a 24 mer synthetic peptide of type II collagen (residues 195-218) (CB12-II). Peptide CB12-II lacks any RGD sequence and is derived from the CB12 fragment of type II collagen. Type II collagen cleavage by collagenase was measured by ELISA in cartilage and medium. Real-time RT-PCR was used to analyze gene expression of the chondrocyte hypertrophy markers COL10A1 and MMP-13. Immunostaining for anti-Ki67, anti-PCNA, (proliferation markers), type X collagen, cleavage of type II collagen by collagenases (hypertrophy markers) and TUNEL staining (hypertrophy and apoptosis markers) were used to detect progressive maturational stages of chondrocyte hypertrophy. At high but naturally occurring concentrations (10 microM and up) the collagen peptide CB12-II induced an increase in the expression of MMP-13 (24 h) and cleavage of type II collagen by collagenase in the mid zone (day 4) and also in the superficial zone (day 6). Furthermore the peptide induced an increase in proliferation on day 1 in the mid and deep zones extending to the superficial zone by day 4. There was also upregulation of COL10A1 expression at day 4 and of type X staining in the mid zone extending to the superficial zone by day 6. Apoptotic cell death was increased by day 4 in the lower deep zone and also in the superficial zone at day 7. The increase in apoptosis in the deep zone was also seen in controls. Our results show that the induction of collagenase activity by a cryptic peptide sequence of type II collagen, is accompanied by chondrocyte hypertrophy and associated with cellular and matrix changes. This induction occurs in the mid and superficial zones of previously healthy articular cartilage. This response of the chondrocyte to a cryptic sequence of denatured type II collagen may play a role in naturally occurring hypertrophy in endochondral ossification and in the development of cartilage pathology in osteoarthritis.

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